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Mazie Hirono on Abortion

Democratic challenger; Representative (HI-2)


Endorsed by EMILY's List for pro-choice women

EMILY's List will endorse Rep. Mazie Hirono, putting its support behind the three-term Democrat early on in the competitive primary to succeed retiring Sen. Daniel Akaka. "Mazie Hirono has spent her career fighting for the people of Hawaii and we are excited to endorse her campaign for the United States Senate," EMILY's List President said.

EMILY's List, a Democratic, abortion-rights organization, has supported Hirono in her previous campaigns.

Source: Campaign website, www.mazieforhawaii.com, "Issues" , Jun 28, 2011

Voted NO on banning federal health coverage that includes abortion.

Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Rep. Fortenberry, R-NE]: Americans deserve to know how the government spends their money, and they are right to refuse the use of their tax dollars for highly controversial activities--in this case, abortion. Abortion harms women. It takes the lives of children, and it allows a man to escape his responsibility. The abortion industry many times profits from all of this pain. We can and must do better as a society, and at a minimum, taxpayer dollars should not be involved. This issue has manifested itself most intently during the health care debate. Unless a prohibition is enacted, taxpayers will fund abortion under the framework of the new health care law. Abortion is not health care.

Opponent's Argument for voting No:
[Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-NY]: H.R. 3 is actually dangerous for women's health. By refusing to provide any exceptions to women who are facing serious health conditions--cancer, heart or whatever that may be--you are forcing women to choose to risk their health or to risk bankruptcy, and I think that is morally unacceptable. Under H.R. 3, a woman facing cancer who needs to terminate a pregnancy in order to live might have to go into debt over the $10,000 that the legal and necessary procedure could cost. Despite having both health insurance and tax-preferred savings accounts, this bill would prevent her from having that.

Reference: No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act; Bill H.3 ; vote number 11-HV292 on May 4, 2011

Voted YES on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines.

Allows federal funding for research that utilizes human embryonic stem cells, regardless of the date on which the stem cells were derived from a human embryo, provided such embryos:
  1. have been donated from in vitro fertilization clinics;
  2. were created for the purposes of fertility treatment;
  3. were in excess of the needs of the individuals seeking such treatment and would otherwise be discarded; and
  4. were donated by such individuals with written informed consent and without any financial or other inducements.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Since 2 years ago, the last Stem Cell bill, public support has surged for stem cells. Research is proceeding unfettered and, in some cases, without ethical standards in other countries. And even when these countries have ethical standards, our failures are allowing them to gain the scientific edge over the US. Some suggest that it is Congress' role to tell researchers what kinds of cells to use. I suggest we are not the arbiters of research. Instead, we should foster all of these methods, and we should adequately fund and have ethical oversight over all ethical stem cell research.

Opponents support voting NO because:

A good deal has changed in the world of science. Amniotic fluid stem cells are now available to open a broad new area of research. I think the American people would welcome us having a hearing to understand more about this promising new area of science. As it stands today, we will simply have to debate the bill on the merits of information that is well over 2 years old, and I think that is unfortunate.

The recent findings of the pluripotent epithelial cells demonstrates how quickly the world has changed. Wouldn't it be nice to have the researcher before our committee and be able to ask those questions so we may make the best possible judgment for the American people?

Reference: Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act; Bill HR 3 ("First 100 hours") ; vote number 2007-020 on Jan 11, 2007

Provide emergency contraception at military facilities.

Hirono co-sponsored providing emergency contraception at military facilities

Requires emergency contraception to be included on the basic core formulary of the uniform formulary of pharmaceutical agents for the pharmacy benefits program of the Department of Defense.

Introductory statement by Sponsor:

Sen. CLINTON: Last year, the FDA made emergency contraception available over-the-counter for women 18 years of age and older. Research shows that emergency contraception is safe and effective for preventing pregnancy. More than 70 major medical organizations, including the America Academy of Pediatrics, recommended that Plan B be made available over-the-counter.

Women deserve access to this medically approved drug and our servicewomen are no different. By providing access to emergency contraception, up to 95% of those unintended pregnancies could be prevented if emergency contraception is administered within the first 24 to 72 hours. For survivors of rape and incest, emergency contraception offers hope for healing.

Current Department of Defense policy allows emergency contraception to be available at military health care facilities. Currently, it is available at some facilities, but not others. The Compassionate Care for Servicewomen Act would simply ensure broader access by including emergency contraception on the basic core formulary, BCF, a list of medications stocked at all military health care facilities.

There is a real need for this legislation. According to the Pentagon, the number of reported sexual assaults in the military increased approximately 24% in 2006 to nearly 3,000. We have reports from women & health providers in the military who have sought emergency contraception on an emergency basis and have been unable to obtain it quickly enough.

Ensuring that emergency contraception is more broadly available at military health care facilities is a fair, commonsense step that everyone should be able to agree on. It is my sincere hope that my colleagues join me in supporting this important legislation.

Source: Compassionate Care for Servicewomen Act (S.1800 & HR.2064) 07-HR2064 on Apr 26, 2007

Require pharmacies to fulfill contraceptive prescriptions.

Hirono signed Access to Birth Control Act

    Access to Birth Control Act: Amends the Public Health Service Act to require pharmacies to comply with certain rules related to contraceptives, including:
  1. providing a customer a contraceptive without delay if it is in stock;
  2. immediately informing a customer if the contraceptive is not in stock and either transferring the prescription to a pharmacy that has the contraceptive in stock or expediting the ordering of the contraceptive and notifying the customer when it arrives, based on customer preference, except for pharmacies that do not ordinarily stock contraceptives in the normal course of business; and
  3. ensuring that pharmacy employees do not take certain actions relating to a request for contraception, including intimidating, threatening, or harassing customers, interfering with or obstructing the delivery of services, intentionally misrepresenting or deceiving customers about the availability of contraception or its mechanism of action, breaching or threatening to breach medical confidentiality, or refusing to return a valid, lawful prescription.
Provides that this Act does not preempt state law or any professional clinical judgment. Sets forth civil penalties and establishes a a private cause of action for violations of this Act.
Source: HR2659&S1415 11-HR2659 on Jul 26, 2011

Ban anti-abortion limitations on abortion services.

Hirono co-sponsored Women's Health Protection Act

Congressional summary:: Women's Health Protection Act: makes the following limitations concerning abortion services unlawful and prohibits their imposition or application by any government:

Opponent's argument against (Live Action News): This is Roe v. Wade on steroids. The bill is problematic from the very beginning. Its first finding addresses "women's ability to participate equally"; many have rejected this claim that women need abortion in order to be equal to men, or that they need to be like men at all. The sponsors of this pro-abortion bill also seem to feel that pro-life bills have had their time in this country, and that we must now turn back to abortion. The bill also demonstrates that its proponents have likely not even bothered attempting to understand the laws they are seeking to undo, considering that such laws are in place to regulate abortion in order to make it safer. Those who feel that abortion is best left up for the states to decide will also find this bill problematic with its overreach. Sadly, the bill also uses the Fourteenth Amendment to justify abortion, as the Supreme Court did, even though in actuality it would make much more sense to protect the lives of unborn Americans.

Source: H.R.3471 & S.1696 14-S1696 on Nov 13, 2013

Ensure access to and funding for contraception.

Hirono co-sponsored ensuring access to and funding for contraception

A bill to expand access to preventive health care services that help reduce unintended pregnancy, reduce abortions, and improve access to women's health care. The Congress finds as follows:

  1. Healthy People 2010 sets forth a reduction of unintended pregnancies as an important health objective to achieve over the first decade of the new century.
  2. Although the CDC included family planning in its published list of the Ten Great Public Health Achievements in the 20th Century, the US still has one of the highest rates of unintended pregnancies among industrialized nations.
  3. Each year, 3,000,000 pregnancies, nearly half of all pregnancies, in the US are unintended, and nearly half of unintended pregnancies end in abortion.
  4. In 2004, 34,400,000 women, half of all women of reproductive age, were in need of contraceptive services, and nearly half of those were in need of public support for such care.
  5. The US has the highest rate of infection with sexually transmitted diseases of any industrialized country. 19 million cases impose a tremendous economic burden, as high as $14 billion per year.
  6. Increasing access to family planning services will improve women's health and reduce the rates of unintended pregnancy, abortion, and infection with sexually transmitted diseases. Contraceptive use saves public health dollars. For every dollar spent to increase funding for family planning programs, $3.80 is saved.
  7. Contraception is basic health care that improves the health of women and children by enabling women to plan and space births.
  8. Women experiencing unintended pregnancy are at greater risk for physical abuse and women having closely spaced births are at greater risk of maternal death.
  9. A child born from an unintended pregnancy is at greater risk of low birth weight, dying in the first year of life, being abused, and not receiving sufficient resources for healthy development.
Source: Prevention First Act (S.21/H.R.819) 2007-HR819 on Feb 5, 2007

Focus on preventing pregnancy, plus emergency contraception.

Hirono signed Prevention First Act

Source: S.21&H.R.463 2009-S21 on Jan 6, 2009

Endorsed Endorsed by EMILY's list for pro-choice Democratic women.

Hirono is endorsed by Congressional endorsement list

Our immediate focus is to protect our gains from 2008 and make sure President Obama has strong Democratic majorities in Congress. Its name? EMILY's List--an acronym for "Early Money Is Like Yeast" (because it makes the dough--campaign funds--rise).
Source: 2010 Congressional endorsement list 2010-EML on Sep 1, 2010

Other candidates on Abortion: Mazie Hirono on other issues:
HI Gubernatorial:
Duke Aiona
Neil Abercrombie
HI Senatorial:
Brian Schatz
Cam Cavasso
Colleen Hanabusa
Daniel Inouye

HI politicians
HI Archives

Retiring in 2014 election:
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IA:Harkin(D)
MI:Levin(D)
MT:Baucus(D)
NE:Johanns(R)
SD:Johnson(D)
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Retired as of Jan. 2013:
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Page last updated: Aug 10, 2014